Calligraphy fonts are one of those typographic options that you rarely need, but when a project comes up that requires handwritten look, then it's useful to have a decent assortment of suitable fonts to hand. Unless, that is, you have the pen skills to do your own calligraphy.
There's an astonishing number of calligraphy fonts out there right now, and sorting through them all to find the best ones is quite a challenge. That's why we've found a selection of our favourites for you; they're all free for personal use, and if you want to use them commercially then they can all be licensed at very reasonable prices. You can also find more free fonts here.
For many people, Scotland will be exactly the sort of thing they'll be thinking of if you mention calligraphy fonts. Rather than being based on ornate, swirly handwriting, this one is inspired by early blackletter type; the sort you might see in medieval manuscripts, and which requires special wide-nibbed pens and lots of practice to carry off in real life. For a hugely retro look this is one to have in your library.
02. Maheisa Script
If you like prefer your calligraphy fonts to be swirly and ornate, however, we have plenty of options for you here. Maheisa Script is a modern vector font by Jamalodin, designed to be used for beautiful text in greetings cards, invitations, logos and more, and comes with both upper and lowercase characters as well as symbols and a stack of accented letterforms.
A lively calligraphy font from Kokok Studio, Angelinatta features bold strokes and a set of wonderfully expressive uppercase and lowercase characters, plus numbers and a handful of symbols. A more advanced licensed version, featuring full punctuation, ligatures and alternates, is available now for just $8.
For a gentle, relaxed look, they don't come much more laid-back than Marthin. Created by Subectype Studio, it's a beautifully loose handwritten font with lazily flowing characters. The free version comes with uppercase and lowercase letters – no numbers, though – plus symbols and punctuation, as well as all the accented characters you're likely to need.
There's plenty of energy to Glarious, an Opentype calligraphy font from Motokiwo. Featuring beautifully heavy strokes with flared touches, it's just the thing for hip logos or as a display font. For free you get upper and lowercase letters and not much more, but for $16 you'll get all the characters you need, plus alternates and swashes.
06. Beautiful Heart
Created by Garisman Studio, Beautiful Heart is a relaxed but elegant script font with some lovely smooth strokes and eye-catching swashes. It's a generous free offering with both upper and lower sets, numbers, punctuation, symbols and accented characters; the licensed version at $20 also gets you more swashes, ligatures, stylistic alternates and stylistic sets.
Another elegant calligraphy font, this time from Haksen Letters, Soulmate is packed with ornate touches that make it suitable for use with luxury products or high-class events. The free version has upper and lowercase letters, plus punctuation and some symbols; pick up a $20 licence for all the characters you're likely to need, plus alternates and ligatures.
08. Cameliya Stark
There's something delightfully quirky about Cameliya Stark, a free calligraphy font from Moly Mol. What really stands out about it its use of enormous swashes on some of the lowercase letters, giving it a look of super-energetic handwriting. A commercial version, Ladies Script, is available for just $8.
09. Basya Jalai
Described by its creator, Alif Quentin, as a light and fresh handwritten font that will inspire any design project with its incredibly romantic feel, Basyar Jalai's splendidly tall and thin with plenty of energy. Get the full licensed version, which features the full set of glyphs plus extras with all manner for flourishes, for $12.
10. The Doctor
Doctors are notorious for their terrible, almost-illegible handwriting. The Doctor, created by Putracetol Studio, isn't quite the baffling medical scrawl you might expect, but a handwritten signature font with a loose, stylish flow, and comes with uppercase, lowercase and symbols.